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ME Treatment Makes One in Three Sufferers Worse

One third of people with chronic fatigue syndrome say that recommended graded exercise therapy actually made their symptoms worse, according to an Action for M.E report this M.E. Awareness Week, 11th – 17th May 2008.

M.E., also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is a chronic, disabling illness which affects 250,000 people across the UK. There is no cure, so the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends symptom management, including graded exercise therapy.

And when properly administered by a specialist who understands M.E., graded exercise therapy (GET) can help many people. Nearly 45% of respondents said that they had found the treatment beneficial, compared to 34% who participated in a survey in 2001. In that year, 50% said that GET had made their M.E. worse, compared to 34% in 2008.

“Whilst some NHS specialists are delivering excellent care, results are not consistent,” said Sir Peter Spencer, Chief Executive of Action for M.E. “Action for M.E. is calling for additional funding for the provision of more M.E. specialists and for more suitably trained GET therapists.”

The charity is also concerned about the number of GPs who are still unsupportive towards patients who have M.E.

“One in three people who responded to our survey said that their GP was either unsupportive or uninformed about the illness,” said Spencer. “Yet GPs are the gatekeepers to diagnosis and treatment. The underlying problem is the scandalous lack of investment in research into the causes and development of this debilitating illness. Only when this is addressed will the most effective treatments be identified.”

Living with M.E.: Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The most common daily symptoms of M.E. are:

• M.E. Symptoms: poor concentration or memory
• M.E. Symptoms: overwhelming exhaustion
• M.E. Symptoms: muscle pain
• M.E. Symptoms: abnormal sleep
• M.E. Symptoms: fluctuating body temperature
• M.E. Symptoms: flu-like malaise
• M.E. Symptoms: headaches
• M.E. Symptoms: dizziness
• M.E. Symptoms: constipation or diarrhoea
• M.E. Symptoms: burning/shooting pain
• M.E. Symptoms: nausea

In most cases, these symptoms fluctuate, but nearly 29% or sufferers are so severely affected that they are generally housebound and a further 4% are bedbound.

At their worst, symptoms make people with M.E. unable to walk for more than 15 minutes, prepare meals, do light housework or drive a car. And almost half have at times been unable to shower, bathe or wash themselves, with 15% had unable to eat unaided.

M.E. is one of the most misunderstood illnesses around. To read more information about chronic fatigue syndrome, Click Here.



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